A few final thoughts…

On Tuesday November 4th 2008 American’s will go to the polls to elect their 44th President. Assuming the polls are correct, and it’d be a pretty big shocker if they weren’t, Barack Obama will be that President. Now whilst I am never going to endorse Obama for purely political not personal reasons, I congratulate him on presiding over what can only be described as a formidable electoral machine and a momentus campaign. However true to form my allegiences lie with John McCain to the last ditch and even as the writing appears to be well and truly on the wall I am still backing his bid for President.

The truth is that for me Barack Obama’s inexperience is dangerous, particularly at this time with an increasingly arrogant Russia and rebellious regimes like Iran. To add insult to injury the experience that Obama does have is troubling to say the least. As far as I can see Obama had one clear chance to get a bit of experience and make a judgement call that he could have added to his record… Iraq. The Iraq surge was one of the most important issues he has confronted as a legislator and he got it spectacularly wrong.

In fact to add insult to injury Obama has continued to oppose the surge at every level even when it was plain for even its most harsh of critics to see that it was succeeding. Only now, as he finally concedes the surge has worked ‘beyond our wildest estimations’, he insists his opposition to it was correct. This arrogance, this refusal to look beyond party politics or even concede he has got it wrong is not good Presidential material. His rhetoric of bipartisanship ultimately defies his record.

The fact remains that if Obama had had his way and been the Commander in Chief, all American troops would have been withdrawn from Iraq by March of this year which ultimately would have led to civil war and most likely genocide; an unprecedented victory for al-Qaeda and Islamic jihadists; and a much needed boost to the Iranians. America and the world at large cannot afford that kind of failed leadership. Now I am not so naieve as to suggest the war on terror is won. But that is precisely why we need the 44th President to be as strong as the 43rd.

We need someone who will take the unpopular decisions that will ultimately keep us safe. That includes the widespread use of surveillance, a willingness to work outside do-nothing multilateral institutions such as the UN, and pursuit of the doctrine of pre-emption. Another great Conservative leader, Winston Churchill, defined the doctrine of pre-emption half a century ago in characteristic style: “You must never fire until you’ve been shot dead? That seems to be a silly thing to say.” McCain understands this, Obama doesn’t.

This summer summed up what we can expect from a President Obama even more perfectly. When Russia invaded Georgia McCain, and his Conservative counterpart David Cameron, responded immediately and condemned this outrageous action, Obama by contrast blinked. Democrats and left wingers like Obama are filled with this sense that deep down the world is a lovely melting pot of harmony and we can all live in perpetual peace. Tosh. The world is filled with conflicting principles and ideologies with zealots on both sides prepared to fight to the death. There are individuals who quites simply you cannot negotiate with and to try is folly.

It is in this light that you cannot afford to sit in the middle of the road because you will be mowed down by traffic on both sides. You have to pick a side and fight for it from those who would seek to destroy it. Now for me freedom is better than dictatorship, freedom and the rule of law. So I am prepared to back a President who is prepared to fight for that freedom against those who would seek to supress it. That President is John McCain not Barack Obama.

Our inaction against and appeasement of regimes and ideologies like Iran may give us a much desired moment of respite only to be followed by even more of a crisis further down the line which we will be forced to respond to. We Conservatives have never shyed away from a challenge. We are not so naieve in our view of the world. We recognise the failings of the human condition and we seek to defend liberty and the rule of law by force where neccessary. As such I find it beyond perposterous that a Conservative can support someone as naieve as Obama.  

The fact is that Obama, while exuding a centrist style and employing populist reconcilliatory rhetoric, has amassed a record (not mere words and fairytale but reality) that places him on the extreme left end of the political spectrum, whether the subject is taxes, trade, healthcare, the size and role of the federal government, the federal courts, missile defence, or virtually any other policy area. History shows us the left wing has never held the answers to our problems and they do not hold the answers now.

Ultimately the next President of the United States will inherit a collapsing economy, 2 wars, a lamentable international reputation, a resurgent and arrogant Russia, a rebellious Iran and a disillusioned and demotivated population. To respond to these crises you need a man of commitment and conviction, someone who has been tried and tested, someone who has fought for his nation both militarily and politically, someone who has a record of bi-partisanship, someone who understands the rules of the game and the failings of the human condition and most importantly someone who understands what it means to be free and is prepared to fight for it against those who would deny it: that man is John McCain. The world wants Obama but it needs McCain.

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4 thoughts on “A few final thoughts…

  1. As a Conservative, I cannot believe that I am saying this, but, Obama is the lesser of two evils. The last paragraph of your article aptly summarises why the USA needs Obama. The USA is in pretty dire straits in terms of its economy, but it’s not going to totally collapse. The people of the USA are genuinely fed up with decades of under invesment in oublic infrastructure, and in general, the world is sick and tired of an America that constantly engages in combat, crimes against humanity and so forth.

    The USA needs social reforms. These reforms are the same reforms that the UK had to go through under the Liberal Administration; the Conservatives in the USA are just too conservative for me. John McCain keeps rattling on, like the one-trip pony that he is, about how he has ‘served his country’ in war, and ‘gotten the scars” to prove it. I’m sorry, but in a time when the world does face a resurgent Russia, a growing manufacturing base in Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, and an Iran that is led, if you’ll excuse my candidness, by a maniacal fundamentalist, the last thing the USA needs is another President who clearly will be confrontational in style, and pump more and more money into ‘defence’ (AKA ‘attack’). I concede that the USA does not either need a tax and spend president who is young, slightly juvenile and cannot see where politics ends and reality begins, but I think that the USA taking a more liberal approach wouldn’t go amis.

    Iraq clearly has brought benefits, and I still support the initial decision to invade. But the world then was very different to the world today, and the general way the Bush administration has handled Iraq has been abysmal. That a LABOUR administration has become involved in this whole sorry affair confirms that this is not really an issue that is divided by political grounds, rather, it is an ideological split. We need to get out of Iraq; not tomorrow, but we need to do it as soon as possible, without upsetting security arrangements.

    The criticisms of Obama as being inexperienced are true, but also, you could describe Cameron as inexperienced, compared to someone like Hague, who could equally be a much more experienced party leader. Yet, unfortunately, the public vote for a person who they deem to be more charismatic, and often, vote out the party in power who have made a hash of the past years.

    I personally therefore feel that Obama is the better candidate for America, but McCain is probably better for the world at large. I can’t help wishing that Obama will lose, but probably would vote for him, as opposed to McCain if I was an ‘ordinary American’. There is als the aspect of Religion and Palin that I won’t go into here, but suffice to say that I think she is dangerous for America. Sorry to be the dissenting voice here!

  2. haha Ian, If I was an American then yes I would be sorely tempted to vote for Obama. I as much as anyone recognise the failings of the Bush administration and I certainly understand the desire to get as far away from the mistakes of the past as possible. However McCain for me represents that change. He is a man with a record, not rhetoric, of bipartisanship. He is not an ideologue per se, he is not bound to any party line, he is an american first and foremost and his record shows he puts his country not his party first. Obama by contrast is an insulated left winger who sticks rigorously to his party line and relies on fantasy over reality.

    Another reason why I back McCain is I find the medias behaviour throughout this season distasteful. They have attempted to back the american voter in to a corner by blitzing them with democrat coverage with only fleeting references to the republicans. They have but this wholly unjustifiable image up of Obama that just defies reality. They have made it almost impossible for moderate voters not to back him.

    This election was always going to be the democrats to lose and the medias coverage has been wholly biased in Obamas favour. They have covered over stories which would have finished off any other candidate (such as the illegal aunt, rev wright, ayers and his voting record which defies his rhetoric) Whereas McCain and Palin have been subjected to an outrageous media hounding and the most irrelevant of mistakes have been latched on to and exaccerbated. That is what is in part tipping me to mccain. I am very sceptical of a bullying and overly influential media.

    You hit on an interesting note with McCains ‘war scar’ rhetoric. I believe this is purely an electoral stunt with as much relevance as Obamas ‘change change change’ crap he keeps coming out with. He needs to use something to prove he has served his country well, something that sets him apart from his opponent and his vietnam record does this and tugs at the patriot strings of the american people. However as a war vet I am confident that McCain will be incredibly reluctant to subject his troops to the horrors he had to experience. Any war vet will tell you… war isnt fun and is always a last resort. So I actually believe his war experiences will make him a more moderate president that will only use war as a last resort.

    Remember you can be tough without going to war. Reagan is the obvious example of a tough president who invested in the military but ultimately the only real battle he fought was the ‘battle of ideas’. It is in this light that McCain is a liberal conservative and I feel that to go from an incredibly right wing president to an incredibly left wing one is unsustainable and very dangerous. Conservatives believe in progressive change, McCain will bring that change. Obama is too radical and at this time, too risky.

  3. I agree with what you say Dan, and must admit I don’t have an in depth knowledge of US political history, of McCain & Obama so am going pretty much on the BBC, The Times & blogs, so maybe my interpritation has been scewed by this. Yet, I just feel that the USA could do with some social reforms that I think even us Conservatives accept. I’ll be honest in that I don’t think any western nation should begin to threaten Iran or Russia because it could easily start something that is very difficult to stop. Instead, we need diplomacy. McCain strikes me as being a little less reactionary than Bush, but still, I would like to think that Obama’s government will include some good negotiators. In any case, I just don’t think we need to stir up the Iranians/Russians any time soon. Re: the economic situation, the USA really doesn’t need any more debt, but it seems that it makes no difference whether you have a democrat or republican administration in terms of state debt. I’m just sad that it’s not Hilary Clinton in Obama’s position.

    One issue that I do feel concerned over is the way the BBC seem to be playing up the race issue; they had a lady in “Louisa’s hair salon” who was constantly using the collective “we” and “us”. I’m sorry, but I really don’t see it as a race issue -what does it matter whether Obama is black, pink, etc? Yes, it’s monumental in US history, but I really hope that people won’t vote for Obama just because he’s black.

    Maybe, once the US election is out of the way, the media will move on to the UK election; after all, we’ve been hearing about the US election for about two years now!

    I might even stay up tomorrow to watch the coverage, all of my flatmates think I’m mad (which I probably am), but I think it will be interesting to see it unfold -although if it’s a repeat performance of George Bush’s first time round then we won’t get a result for weeks!

  4. Look as much as I would like to feel that Obama would be ‘a safe bet’ or moderate in diplomatic terms, his record just doesnt match up. He has agreed to negotiate without preconditions with leaders like Ahmadinejad, the castro brothers, chavez and others all of whom have patchy political and moral records and whose rhetoric is troubling. This, to me, is all but condoning their outrageous sentiments and would undo years of coercive efforts which have begun to pay off eg libya, north korea.

    McCain will be more confrontational and I am by no means advocating an attack on Iran or Russia, but I also feel that Iran and Russia would be far more cautious with a President McCain, I dont think they too would wish to be pushed in to a full on war but I feel that that they believe Obama is the weaker of the two candidates and would see how far they can push him without actually provoking a full blown war.

    The race issue, like the ‘Bush factor’, has been the elephant in the room from the beginning. The media have hyped it up sooo much now that for Obama to lose would all but obliterate racial harmony in the states (which is fragile enough) and cause pandemonium on the streets of certain cities. The media have manipulated this election and I for one would refuse to allow them to do so by voting for mccain (were I a US citizen).

    Obama has raised record amounts with the medias backing but as far as I am concerned democracy is not for sale. Its about policy not personality, its not americas next top model after all, and when I look at the policy, tax and spend the likes of which Obama advocates is NOT the way forward. Neither is being timid when it comes to confrontational and arrogant regimes. Thats why it has to be, but most likely wont be, McCain.

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